Adolescent anxiety and pain problems: a joint, genome-wide investigation and pathway-based analysis

Année :


Mascheretti S, Forni D, Fumagalli L, Lampis V, Paquin S, Andlauer T, Wang W, Dionne G, Brendgen M, Vitaro F, Ouellet-Morin I, Rouleau G, Gouin J-P, Côté S, Tremblay RE, Turecki G, Garon-Carrier G, Boivin M, Battaglia M. (2023). Adolescent anxiety and pain problems: a joint, genome-wide investigation and pathway-based analysis. PLOS ONE. 8(5), e0285263.


Both common pain and anxiety problems are widespread, debilitating and often begin in childhood-adolescence. Twin studies indicate that this co-occurrence is likely due to shared elements of risk, rather than reciprocal causation. A joint genome-wide investigation and pathway/network-based analysis of adolescent anxiety and pain problems can identify genetic pathways that subserve shared etiopathogenetic mechanisms. Pathway-based analyses were performed in the independent samples of: The Quebec Newborn Twin Study (QNTS; 246 twin pairs and 321 parents), the Longitudinal Study of Child Development in Quebec (QLSCD; n = 754), and in the combined QNTS and QLSCD sample. Multiple suggestive associations (p<1×10−5), and several enriched pathways were found after FDR correction for both phenotypes in the QNTS; many nominally-significant enriched pathways overlapped between pain problems and anxiety symptoms (uncorrected p<0.05) and yielded results consistent with previous studies of pain or anxiety. The QLSCD and the combined QNTS and QLSCD sample yielded similar findings. We replicated an association between the pathway involved in the regulation of myotube differentiation (GO:0010830) and both pain and anxiety problems in the QLSDC and the combined QNTS and QLSCD sample. Although limited by sample size and thus power, these data provide an initial support to conjoint molecular investigations of adolescent pain and anxiety problems. Understanding the etiology underlying pain and anxiety co‐occurrence in this age range is relevant to address the nature of comorbidity and its developmental pathways, and shape intervention. The replication across samples implies that these effects are reliable and possess external validity.